Cynthia St. Charles Store

Thursday, June 28, 2007

No Waste Fabric Dyeing

As I've mentioned before, I am very busy with an apartment renovation as well as supporting and taking up the slack for DH who has had surgery on his elbow. This means I have little time for my favorite summer entertainments such as dyeing fabric.

I've also mentioned the fact that we don't have water at our place. We have to haul it in our 375 gallon tank from the water station. With a full house, it takes about one trip per day to cover our household needs. Dyeing and landscape watering can significantly increase our water consumption.

Since I am currently the primary water hauler, I am extremely motivated to keep the water use down. Even so, with temperatures in the 90's - I cannot stop thinking about dyeing!

I'm trying out this method for a seven step gradation using the same soda ash water for each color.

This is my first color run - called Butterscotch. I half filled seven tall containers with a soda ash / salt solution. I mixed my dye using 1 heaping teaspoon of dye and 1 cup of water.

I poured off half a cup and added it to the first container. I added half a cup of water to the remaining dye and poured half a cup of that mixture into the second container. Then, I added half a cup of water to the remaining dye and poured half a cup of that mixture into the third container. . . . I continued with this process till I had a very pale dye for the final container.

I placed half a yard of PFD cotton broadcloth into each container and covered the big plastic box with the lid, leaving it out in the sun till my next opportunity.

After about 18 hours, I pulled out the fabric, squeezing the excess soda ash water back into the containers and submerged the fabric in a five gallon bucket of cold water.

Next, I mixed up another color and followed the same procedure - using the same soda ash left behind from the first batch. The soda ash mixture is still good, and most - if not all of the dye has exhausted, so will not impact the next batch (if a little dye remains, I don't mind - maybe I will get more interesting effects and unusual colors).

I am on my fourth color with the same containers and the same soda ash. Right now, I have all the fabrics soaking in a giant bucket of water. As soon as I have enough for a full load - I will do a wash out and then I will show you what I got.

I usually dye multi colored and shibori. But my stash is getting depleted and I am finding I need more semi-solids and a broader range of light to darks. This process should get my stash built back up in no time at all!

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